Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I'm Honored:

I've never met, as far as I can remember, Eugene Johnson, over at KBOO in Portland. He had a blog I like and try to read as often as I can.

Lately I've been down. The news seems to get worse, both nationally and internationally. I had some cautious hopes after the last national election, but the smell of a chicken coop permeates the Democratic Party. I'm reading Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, which is a fine fine book and one I think we all should read, discuss, and then act upon her insights. It's not a cheery book, though.

Eugene came through with a good gentle nudge from behind. He put me in a list of people who I would neverever consider, hell. Thanks, Eugene! Pidamaya!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Interrogation is the new word for Torture

This is something that's been on my mind, lately. The U.S. is no longer what it was, no longer has moral high ground—in fact, it's a moral swamp. Thanks, Bill, for summing this up.

Published on The Smirking Chimp (

It's Kidnapping and Torture, Not Rendition and Interrogation

Created Oct 29 2007 - 2:40pm

How Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney want to believe that they are a part of the James Bond world and are accomplishing good on behalf of God, mother and country!

Since their government relies on spin control we get some exciting words that appear to be out of an old Sean Connery film as the dashing Scot appears as good old 007 James Bond. Now we have words like rendition and interrogation making their way into the public lexicon.

It is time to get down to basics and call these actions what they really are. You grab somebody and dump that individual in a friendly (for interrogators) outpost.

You then begin to “interrogate.”

How is that defined? Well, one activity is waterboarding. What is that? That’s a term that stands for simulated drowning.

Hold it, isn’t that torture? Shhh! We shouldn’t call it that since that is upsetting.

Remember how we needed that Patriot Act after 9/11?

Well, remember now that we provide a label for someone we grab and throw into jail or some dark and isolated room that constitutes a substitute for jail without giving these individuals access to a lawyer.

Mind you, according to fashionable labeling these are not citizens. We call these individuals that we are trying to convince to confess, we label them enemy combatants.

I mean, doesn’t that carry a less offensive ring than if we label them torture victims?

As we learned from Karl Rove and the Republican spin machine – Labeling is the thing! How much better to refer to interrogations of enemy combatants than those other unpleasant names that conjure up cruel dictatorships and the most barbaric methods of torture.

Remember, loyal citizens, to learn the correct labeling and above all do not question your masters since they are conducting wars and engaging in rendition and interrogation to make all of you safer.

Always remember these operative code words: Perpetual War is a necessary means to achieve Perpetual Peace.

Some of us, no matter how hard you try, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, think that all of this nifty little phraseology is nothing more than subterfuge, cruel and tragic subterfuge.

What does all of this really mean?

It means that a government calling itself the beacon of democracy and the standard to be held up high for the entire world to follow resorts to preventive rather than pre-emptive war, ah, another labeling conflict, along with kidnap and torture, all in the name of preserving American democracy.

Shame on you, Congress, for not performing your constitutional responsibility.

Shame on you Congress for not convening immediate hearings on the impeachment and removal from office of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who tirelessly and ruthlessly subvert the U.S. Constitution and defile international law.

Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi, your refusal to act as leaders of the respective bodies of Congress in the face of democracy’s destruction will ensure roles for you in historical infamy!
Bill Hare


Remembering the Bill of Rights

It's bad. For many of us, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are the reasons America is a great country. However, thanks to neo-fascist thinking of the government, we lost those reasons. We're now an arbitrary fancy dictatorship.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist #84 in August of 1788:

The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it [the Constitution] contains. The practice of arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny. The observations of the judicious [British eighteenth-century legal scholar] Blackstone, in reference to the latter, are well worthy of recital:

“To bereave a man of life” says he, “or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is a pretty good summation of why I’m feeling so sad about my country...
Why Those Who Love America Are Feeling Brokenhearted
By Andrew Greeley
The Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday 24 October 2007

I am ashamed for America. Note carefully that I do not say I am ashamed of America. Despite all its inherent flaws and all its tragic mistakes, the United States stands, however incompletely and with whatever imperfections, for the highest standards of freedom and democracy that the world has yet known.

I am ashamed for America because all the evil done in the nation's name in recent years is turning off the light on the mountaintop.

1. The president urges Congress in effect to accept the Turkish protest against the attribution of Armenian genocide because it might interfere with Turkish logistic cooperation in the ill-starred and foolish Iraq war. That's like silencing all congressional action on the Holocaust because we need Germany on our side. If Turks expect to become part of Europe and the West, they must acknowledge what their ancestors did. They could pass a resolution of their own accusing us of genocide against Native Americans if it would make them happy. How humiliating that the president wants us to ignore what happened to the Armenians so we can be victorious in the "global war on terror" (the current replacement for "weapons of mass destruction"). That's called appeasement, and it was appeasement when President Bill Clinton did the same thing.

2. The government kidnaps, tortures and murders the way the Gestapo did in Nazi Germany. The president blithely dismisses these charges. The United States, he says, does not torture. But that deception is based on a memo from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defining torture, which the White House won't let anyone else look at.

3. The government pays large salaries to 148,000 "individual contractors" in Iraq - more than the total American military there. A third of these are toting guns. They are mercenaries - often, it would seem, with very quick trigger fingers. Ironically, the most recent victims were two Armenian Christian women. These contractors are a kind of American Foreign Legion, like the notorious French and Spanish foreign legions. They may well be very brave people who do very tough jobs. They also compensate for Mr. Rumsfeld's criminal underestimate of the number of troops required. If, however, the country is going to have a Legion Etranger, it should make sure that it works under tight control. An unrestrained security force quickly becomes a mafia. Humphrey Bogart, where are you when we really need you?

4. At a remarkably frank meeting of middle-range officers (majors and colonels) at Fort Leavenworth, the soldiers debated not whether there should have been a war in Iraq, but who was to blame for losing it. Was it the senior officers or the joint chiefs or the civilian leaders? The war is not even over yet, and already the officers who fought it and will have to fight its continuation have already given up hope. Too bad for them, because the president has made up his mind that we are still going to win the war and the Democratic presidential candidates speak about a 10-year presence in Iraq. Whatever the political leadership is or will be in 2009, no candidate seems capable of saying, "We're getting out now!" And the rest of the world laughs at us because both parties are led by fools.

Anyone who cares about the United States and its legacies has to be brokenhearted at what has been done to our beloved country by the crazy people who are running it - people who have become so skilled at deception they don't even realize anymore that they are deceiving. Just like the Democrats don't realize they are again stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory.


my country 'tis of thy people you're dying...

This came to me via my old friend, an intelligent ex-archeologist, Claudia, lost in the wilds of northern Idaho.

This is American politics as it exists today. It makes me want to cry.

The Huffington Post
October 25, 2007

Bob Cesca

The Lies Of John McCain And Mike Huckabee

As expected, Sunday night's FOX News debate was awesomely ridiculous. After a few minutes, this is all I heard:

GIULIANI: "9/11, 9/11, 9/11, Reagan, Hillary!"
ROMNEY UNIT: "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Beep-boop-beep-beep, Reagan?"
THOMPSON: (smacks lips) "Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, I'm old and sleepy! 9/11."
RON PAUL: "When it comes to Iraq I don't---"
AUDIENCE: "BOOOO! Hissss! You make Hannity cry!"

What struck me as particularly farcical was Senator McCain's post-debate assertion on Hannity & Colmes that America is a "right of center" nation.

Republicans try to sneak this one by us quite a bit and, when it's repeated, the full implication is that the United States has always been right of center. It's a lie that fits nicely with the "America was founded as a Judeo-Christian Nation" lie.

The United States of America is composed of around 300 million mostly good people who are sometimes misguided, destructive, religious, arrogant, ignorant and self-important -- conditioned to consume everything. We're fat, prone to addiction and we love awful things like Steve Doocy and BK Stackers. We're a lot of crazy things, Senator McCain, but America is definitely not "right of center."

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee (actual Microsoft Word spell check suggestions: chickadee, huskies, hoecake) tried to tell us this week that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were "mostly clergymen." That's another lie -- a corollary to the Judeo-Christian Nation lie. At most, five of the 56 signers of the Declaration were clergymen. And that's a generous accounting.

America was founded by men of the Enlightenment: a movement which emphasized reason, rationality, liberalism, anti-authoritarianism and political equality. The founders were revolutionary liberals who believed strongly in secular government. This is nowhere near "right of center" or indicative of a Judeo-Christian Nation.

Many of the founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson, while claiming to believe in God, were deists and didn't believe in the resurrection or the divinity of Jesus Christ; they didn't believe in Christ's miracles or the holy trinity. Bill O'Reilly would've poked their eyes out with his pointy fingers.

Thomas Paine, whose writing inspired the Declaration of Independence, rejected all religions: "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." (The Age of Reason, 1794)

John Adams, as president, signed a treaty in 1796 which stated unequivocally: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion." There's no gray area there.

And, naturally, we have the First Amendment which includes that pesky Establishment Clause, defining the separation between church and state. That, and Article VI which forbids a religious test for holding public office. Clearly a section of the Constitution the Republican candidates have overlooked.

Make no mistake, the founders absolutely believed in the existence of a God or a Creator. George Washington often spoke of "Providence." But they were fighting and dying to escape the tyranny of a theocratic government. Why would they risk everything only to establish -- hell, to establish exactly what today's Republican Party wants: an imperial, conquering superpower fronted by a strong executive who legislates Judeo-Christian dogma?

The founders knew that theocracy and authoritarianism were the weapons of tyrants. Likewise, in establishing a constitutional democracy, they knew that if they sanctioned a national religion, then government would be able to tax and regulate religion -- suppressing religious expression. So the founders created a secular nation in which any and all religions would be free to prosper without government intrusion -- and vice versa.

As for the political and ideological views of the founders, you can't get much more liberal than instigating a rebellion and engaging in revolutionary warfare against a standing imperial army, a monarch (unitary executive) and a monopolistic mega-corporation (the East India Company, which received the most infamous corporate tax cut of all time -- triggering the Boston Tea Party).

Sorry Republicans. The founding fathers were secular liberals. And so are a majority of Americans right here and now. According to Gallup:

-Americans are pro-choice (67 percent)
-Americans support the Geneva Conventions with regards to torture (57 percent)
-Americans don't want the government snooping in their bank and internet records (67 percent)
-Americans want the USA Patriot Act changed or eliminated entirely (81 percent)
-Americans support protecting the environment at the expense of economic growth (55 percent)
-Americans believe that global warming is happening (86 percent)
-Americans believe that it's the government's responsibility to provide health care (69 percent)
-Americans support the decriminalization of marijuana (55 percent) and support the legalization of medical marijuana (78 percent)
-Americans think we've lost the war in Iraq (64 percent)
-Americans are opposed to attacking Iran (68 percent, according to a CNN Poll)
-Americans support labor unions (60 percent)
-Americans want government funding of embryonic stem cell research (56 percent)
-Americans believe that free trade hurts American workers (65 percent)
-Americans believe rich people and corporations aren't paying enough taxes (66 and 71 percent respectively)
-And overall party affiliation? 54 percent of Americans are Democrats (with leaners) and 39 percent are Republicans (with leaners).

That's "right of center"? I call bullshit aboard the Straight Talk Express.

And even if the numbers aren't so convincing, at the very least our political leaders are supposed to be well-educated, rational, reasoned, forward-thinking, progressive and, yes, secular... so we the people don't always have to be.

We can be religious zealots or we can be atheists. We can be rednecks, wingnuts, wonks, hoopleheads or layabout geeks. Just so long as our leaders aren't. Our American leaders ought to reflect not necessarily who we are, but who we ought to be. Senator Chris Dodd, for example, is representative of who we ought to be.

Before Reagan came along, Republicans were political moderates -- even liberal -- by today's standards. President Eisenhower established the Department of Education, Health and Welfare. And President Nixon, despite shitting all over the country, ended the war in Vietnam, established OSHA, the EPA and the first government affirmative action program.

Conversely, the most liberal of all modern presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, built the mightiest army the world has ever known. He built this army from scratch and used it to simultaneously defeat Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.

Yet somehow liberal is a bad word.

At some point in the last 30 years, the Republican Party totally flew off the rails, and in doing so must've sustained a blunt force trauma to the brain. The neoconservative movement decided that an imperialist, preemptive foreign policy combined with a deliberately moronic, Larry the Cable Guy, Wrestlemania, knee-jerk, warmongering, fearmongering style of politics would make the GOP more relatable to "Middle Americans."

And it's worked out, more or less. There are Republican voters watching FOX News at this very minute who, if they knew what the Enlightenment was, would probably think it was somehow "faggy."

I wonder what Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson or James Madison (a Christian who vetoed a faith-based initiative, by the way) would've said about a president who boasted that God told him to invade and occupy another country? Jefferson would probably convene an emergency meeting about authoring a brand new, shall we say, declarative document.

But I don't think Senator McCain, President Bush or Mike Huckabee would be allowed within a hundred miles of that meeting. Then again, I suppose they wouldn't have to be. They'd probably just wiretap the meeting and render the participants to secret overseas torture dungeons.

here is a great site with more quotes.


Republicans: the Party of Pedophilia?

Well, my head wants to explode when I read stuff like this. It's all true.


• Republican Party Chairman Donald Fleischman was charged with two counts of child enticement, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and a single charge of exposing himself to a child.
• Republican prosecutor John David Roy Atchison was arrested for soliciting sex from a 5-year old girl, then killed himself three weeks later. At the time of his arrest, Atchison was an "assistant U.S. attorney" appointed by President Bush's attorney general.
• Republican city councilman John Bryan killed himself after police began investigating allegations that he had molested three girls, including two of his adopted daughters, ages 12 and 15.
• Republican legislator Ted Klaudt was charged with raping girls under the age of 16.
• Republican city councilman Joseph Monteleone Jr. was found guilty of fondling underage girls.
• Republican congressional aide Jeffrey Nielsen was arrested for having sex with a 14-year old boy.
• Republican County Commissioner Patrick Lee McGuire surrendered to police after allegedly molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13.
• Republican prosecutor Larry Corrigan was arrested for soliciting sex from 13-year old girls.
• Republican Mayor Jeffrey Kyle Randall was sentenced to 275 days in jail for molesting two boys -- ages ten and 12 -- during a six-year period.
• Republican County Board Candidate Brent Schepp was charged with molesting a 14-year old girl and killed himself three days later.
• Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after "sexually explicit" emails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year old boy.
• Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 13-year old girl on the internet.
• Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year old girl.
• Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting sex from an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.
• Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
• Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.
• Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.
• Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano pleaded guilty to fondling a 14-year-old girl.
• Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.
• Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.
• Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.
• Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.
• Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.
• Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
• Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.
• Republican Committeeman John R. Curtin was convicted of molesting an underage teenage boy and sentenced to serve six to 18 months in prison.
• Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.
• Republican zoning supervisor, Boy Scout leader and Lutheran church president Dennis L. Rader pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on an 11-year old girl he murdered.
• Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.
• Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.
• Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.
• Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.
• Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
• Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.
• Republican fundraiser Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
• Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
• Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.
• Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.
• Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.
• Republican campaign chairman Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child and was arrested again five years later on the same charge.
• Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.
• Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.
• Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer.
• Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.
• Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.
• Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.
• Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.
• Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.
• Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced prison after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.
• Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.
• Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.
• Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.
• Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.
• Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.
• Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).
• Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was found guilty of molesting a 15-year old girl.
• Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.
• Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.
• Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.
• Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.
• Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.
• Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.
• Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.
• Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.
• Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.
• Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
• Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.
• Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.
• Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
• Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.
• Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.
• Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.


Yeah, here we go again...

Bill O'Reilly is incensed that Dumbledore is gay; the Colorado Rockies are big on having team members who are Jesus-heads; according to an Aussie paper, Bush has offered to fire missles at Kurdish militia groups who are fighting the Turks (although I don't know if he'll zap Kurdish partizans fighting the Iranians); our equality-loving Senate just OKed a southern racist; the Republicans look at Hillary Clinton and see the mythic teethed vagina of their nightmares; and I don't like anybody very much, as sang the Kingston Trio. Who'd a-thought those idiot preppies would have been so on-target?

I guess when the empire collapses, all good sense goes with it. The Democrats have joined the Republicans in utter idiocy. In the upcoming presidential election I think I'll vote for Joe Hill.

Other than that, life plods on. Our cat-boarder loves to sleep all day. I think he's smart. B. watches hours of TV and worries about her niece. I think that's not-smart, but I'm not B.. Winter is approaching: on the reservations it's again a time of starvation and freezing for too many people, young and old.


Monday, October 22, 2007


Burn them books!

It’s been around for years, The Anarchist Cookbook. My son had a copy; when he passed away and we were going through his stuff, I didn’t find it, so I don’t have a copy. When a book is considered “material for terrorist purposes,” something is very VERY crazy and totalitarian.

It’s sad that the Brits have gone this nuts. I think the U.S. is just about at this point, too. Still...I’m looking for a copy of the book...

Boy in court on terror charges
A British teenager who is accused of possessing material for terrorist purposes has appeared in court.

The 17-year-old, who was arrested in the Dewsbury area of West Yorkshire on Monday, was given bail after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

It is alleged he had a copy of the "Anarchists' Cookbook", containing instructions on how to make home-made explosives.

His next court hearing has been set for 25 October.

The teenager faces two charges under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The first charge relates to the possession of material for terrorist purposes in October last year.

The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.

He stood in the dock wearing a baggy, blue hooded top and only spoke to confirm his name and date of birth.

After the 40-minute hearing, the teenager was released on bail under several conditions.

A second 17-year-old who is facing similar charges has already been remanded in custody and will also appear at the Crown Court on 25 October.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/10/05 16:00:48 GMT


Thursday, October 18, 2007



—Which means the children in this country lose, too. That means we all lose.

Fuck the Republicans for their head-up-the-president's-ass vote on this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Reactionaries driving on a cliff: More! More!

Here. This is from David N., one of my favorite blogger/writers. If you want to follow the links, go to the source page:


Watching the Bus Plunge

A normal person couldn't be blamed for enjoying a certain grim satisfaction watching movement conservatives go careening over the cliff with their bizarre attempt to smear 12-year-old Graeme Frost. Sure, it's fun to watch Michelle Malkin's pants go down in flames. Who wouldn't enjoy that?

But it's worth remembering that the stakes here run deeper than simple takedowns. There are two serious issues at stake here: how we Americans see our relationship to the government, and how we handle our relationships with each other -- especially those we disagree with.

There are signs that even a few movement conservatives can see the ground coming up. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page on Sunday signaled that it might be time to shut down the controversy -- a sure sign they know it's gone badly:

While that was a political stunt, the Washington habit of employing "poster children" is hardly new. But the Internet mob leapt to some dubious conclusions and claimed the Frost kids shouldn't have been on Schip in the first place.

As it turns out, they belonged to just the sort of family that a modest Schip is supposed to help.

Not that this has particularly slowed the yowling mob pursuing the Frost family, including a defiant Michelle Malkin, who already has pretty much self-immolated in leading this fiasco. Indeed, as their bus plunge gains in velocity, they seem to be ratcheting up the ugliness a notch, with comments like these surfacing among right-wing bloggers at sites like RedState:

If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. […]

I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I’d do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info.

Even more disturbingly, as ThinkProgress reports, for this kind of rhetoric, RedState got a big thumbs-up from the White House:

Rather than distancing themselves from the smear campaign, the White House today decided to embrace RedState and reward the blog with an official White House posting.

In a post entitled “Democrats’ SCHIP Budget Gimmick,” Nicholas Thompson, a staffer in the White House’s Office of Strategic Intiatives, rallied the conservative troops around Bush’s hard-line stance, reminding them that “we are less than one week” from Congress’ veto override vote.

In addition to the grotesque unseemliness of hounding a family in their home, one of the real reasons the conservative movement has taken this cliff plunge is that their drivers have been seeing a road that isn't there: their "facts" have all evaporated in thin air, as the WSJ editors noticed. But with Malkin and her minions, that simply hasn't been a problem before, so why should it be now?

As Kevin Drum noticed:

As near as I can tell, the right-wing blogosphere has spent the past three years fantasizing obsessively about uncovering a new Rathergate. It was their great triumph (Blog of the Year from Time magazine!), and now it seems like hardly a month goes by without the hysterical discovery of yet another faked photo, planted note, or lying liberal. Almost without fail, though, they turn out to be.....wrong. Embarrassingly, completely, unquestionably, flat-on-their-faces wrong.

Being wrong, in fact, has never stopped movement conservatives in the past. Nor has it stopped the media from treating them as legitimate. Eric Boehlert described this in some detail earlier this year, detailing some of the ways Malkin has embarked on a series of factually screwed-up crusades that have only revealed her estrangement from basic standards of truthfulness (yet have simultaenously won her glowing valentines from the likes of Howard Kurtz).

These include:

-- Her misbegotten defense of the Japanese American internment.

-- Her embrace of the fanatics pushing various Terri Schiavo conspiracy theories.

-- Her unprofessional smear of photojournalists working in Baghdad.

-- Her insistence that a suicide bombing in Oklahoma was actually a harbinger of the looming Muslim jihad on American shores.

-- The bizarre conspiracy theory she concocted regarding the design of the Flight 103 memorial.

-- And most infamously, who could forget her leading role in the 'Jamilgate' fiasco, wherein she tried to claim that a Baghdad reporter's source was actually nonexistent, but found out that not only was he very much real, she'd also endangered his life.

But central to Malkin's schtick is her dubious pose as a professional journalist, which is why, as Publius at Obsidian Wings notes, she's sticking so hard to her guns here:

Malkin, however, does care on some level. She craves to be respected. And she knows on some level that she’s been knocked down on the canvas -- and she’s deeply embarrassed. But, she’s decided to double down rather than acknowledge the mistake and move on to other battles. It’s as if she were the commander-in-chief or something.

Indeed, Malkin's recalcitrance is symptomatic of a general conservative-movement trait: never, ever admit you are wrong. It's one of their core tenets: Being Right Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry. That's how they've handled every issue that's come down the pike, from the Iraq war to Katrina to SCHIP.

But as satisfying as it might be to watch Malkin finally consume herself in the bonfire she's built, there's are, as Colin McEnroe suggests, much bigger fish frying here. For starters, it's useful to keep in mind that the underlying issue that Malkin and Co. are assaulting is the basic matter of middle-class solvency:

Malkin and her friends don't want to fix that problem. On the contrary, they insist on it! They insist on the risk of bankruptcy as kind of a moral imperative; and they say members of the shaky, eroding American middle class who are not willing to put up with the ruination of their financial health from medical bills are leeches and wussies! Wow.

Wow indeed. I think Ezra Klein (whose ill-fated attempt to actually engage Malkin on the issue of health care came to a predictably bad end) probably put it best early on in the affair:

This is the politics of hate. Screaming, sobbing, inchoate, hate. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to drive to the home of a Republican small business owner to see if he “really” needed that tax cut. It would never, not in a million years, occur to me to call his family and demand their personal information. It would never occur to me to interrogate his neighbors. It would never occur to me to his smear his children.

The shrieking, atavistic ritual of personal destruction the right roars into every few weeks is something different than politics. It is beyond politics. It was done to Scott Beauchamp, a soldier serving in Iraq. It was done to college students from the University of California, at Santa Cruz. Currently, it is being done to a child and his family. And think of those targets: College students, soldiers, children. It can be done to absolutely anyone.

This is not politics. This is, in symbolism and emotion, a violent group ritual. It is savages tearing at the body of a captured enemy. It is the group reminding itself that the Other is always disingenuous, always evil, always lying, always pitiful and pathetic and grotesque.

Or, as John Cole put it more simply: "These people are authoritarian thugs."

The rhetoric matches the agenda here, and it has a specific quality -- namely, both are eliminationist in nature. The purpose of hounding people in their private homes is not merely to punish them for speaking up but to intimidate anyone else who might consider doing the same -- that is, to eliminate opposition. And observe the language being directed at the Frosts, such as that from RedState's mbecker: "[they] could die for all I care," and he would like to "destroy their lives."

As I wrote some time back:

How is any kind of normative political discourse possible in this environment? How is it possible to be civil to people who constantly are placing you under assault? How can there be dialogue when the normative rules of give and take and fair play have not only been flushed down the drain, but chopped into bits and swept out with the tide? Do the advocates of civility place any onus on the nonstop verbal abuse, and absolutely ruthless, win-at-all-costs politics emanating from the conservative quadrant? And do they really expect liberals to refuse to defend themselves, when even doing so gets them accused of further incivility?

It's important to make an issue of eliminationist talk precisely because it is so poisonous to the national discourse. For starters, its innate divisiveness belies its practitioners' demands for "national unity." Moreover, its targets are in a lose-lose position: if they attempt to continue to practice the old-fashioned politics of traditional civility out of principle, they are doomed to be bulldozered; but if they stand up and fight back, they're accused of being uncivil. (It's funny how bullies act all wounded and picked on when somebody punches back.)

This is easily the ugliest facet of a conservative movement that doesn't have many attractive ones to begin with, and the more the general public sees it in all its mouth-foaming glory, the less they want anything to do with them. With polls a month ago showing something like 86 percent support for SCHIP, nasty attacks on 12-year-olds seem unlikely to change the public's mind. (A more recent Rasmussen poll showed 57 percent disapproved of President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill.) More important, there's a growing consensus that, like the centrists at Poliblogger, we are "sick to death of these people and their views of both politics and public discourse."

Yet at the same time, eliminationist rhetoric creates a vicious upward spiral that inevitably expresses itself in violence: When its practitioners face the inevitable retaliation, their response always is to ratchet it up another notch, until the back-and-forth gets so ugly that hardly anyone can tell who is worse. This is not discourse; it's a recipe for the destruction of our democratic institutions.

So while we should allow ourselves to enjoy our low mordant chuckles at the spectacle of the conservative-movement bus plunging off a cliff with Michelle Malkin maniacally cackling at the steering wheel, it's best to remember that it's still just a metaphor and a cartoonish one at that. They'll be back, like Wile E. Coyote or Freddie Krueger, after dusting themselves off and pretending nothing untoward has just occurred.

Because there's one other facet of the movement-conservative mindset that will always be in play: they never give up. Defeat just makes them more determined. Once they've gotten their taste of flying monkeyhood, they won't be turning back. There already are harbingers that some of the characters involved in this controversy -- notably Free Republic and others -- will be playing an increasing role in street-level right-wing "advocacy" in the coming months. (I'll be reporting on these developments as more details emerge.)

And besides, as Eric Boehlert observed, being spectacularly wrong has never slowed this crowd down before, especially not in terms of how they are regarded by the Beltway media. Indeed, we should probably look for more glowing profiles of Malkin and her friends in the coming months.

The Frost family fiasco, I suspect, was just a shot across the bow. The 2008 election cycle could well get very interesting, and not necessarily in a good way.

I hope this is the tail end of the hurricane and not the eye. Things have been hectic, but the last three days quite calm. Waiting, waiting to see if another shoe is about to crash down...

A friend was over for last week. She lives in Caldwell and....I'll call her Jane. Jane used to live here in Bend, along with her son and daughter-in-law and their little girl. The son and his family moved to Caldwell, ID: he's a convert to LDS, since his wife is from a big old Mormon family. Jane is not Mormon; never was and never will be—if anything, she'd be classed as New Age. Her daughter is making a serious effort to be the perfect Mormon wife with the perfect Mormon family. Jane has been squeezed out. So she came over for a little R and R, along with a long-delayed checkup on her replacement hips. They're pretty good. The R and R was good. Way back when, we used to trade baby-sitting when we lived over in Ashland—thirty years ago. There was a lot to talk about.

And B.'s niece decided to move out, on Saturday. Wham bam, I'm leaving. She's been involved with a young drunk who also works where she does. She's been spending her paychecks getting him out of jail and his car out of impound. This seems to be a continuing melodrama. We won't let him in the house. For a while he was sleeping in his car out at the curb until we threatened to call the cops on him. So, she moved. Supposedly not in with him...but probably him in with her. We'll see, no doubt. B. was upset at the way this all went down, but once she accepted this as the course of action, got busy and stuffed her niece's clothes into paper sacks and tossed them out the door. And that's been that.

This happened when Jane was leaving. Some old friends from Berkeley, P & K, came through on Saturday, as well. Busy day, yeah. I'd been best man at their wedding, a few years ago. They still live in Berkeley, but they were on an Oregon tour and passed through on their way down to Ashland (Ashland, again!) where they own a 2nd home for retirement.

I didn't have much inclination to sit down and blog: too much going on. Social scenes are much more rewarding than staring at the monitor screen. And the world goes on, regardless of whether or not I rant and rave about the outrages of the government and it's minions.

Wotthehell, wotthehell.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Columbus: America's first slaver

Here. It’s long past time to end the Columbus myth-machine.

Columbus Day - As Rape Rules Africa and American Churches Embrace
Violent "Christian" Video Games
by Thom Hartmann

"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it
does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to
-- Christopher Columbus, 1503 letter to the king and queen of Spain.

"Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but
also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can
be accomplished through perseverance and faith."
--George H.W. Bush, 1989 speech

If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the
island on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a
blowtorch and burned away anything green. Even the ocean around the
port capital of Port au Prince is choked for miles with the brown of
human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the air, it looks like a lava
flow spilling out into the sea.

The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for
what's happening in the whole world.

When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the
entire island was covered by lush forest. The Taino "Indians" who
loved there had an apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from
the reports left to us by literate members of Columbus's crew such as
Miguel Cuneo.

When Columbus and his crew arrived on their second visit to
Hispaniola, however, they took captive about two thousand local
villagers who had come out to greet them. Cuneo wrote: "When our
caravels. where to leave for Spain, we thousand six
hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we
embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495.For those who remained,
we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island's fort) in
the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so,
to the amount desired, which was done."

Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib
girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that
when he attempted to have sex with her, she "resisted with all her
strength." So, in his own words, he "thrashed her mercilessly and
raped her."

While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a
story made up by Columbus - which is to this day still taught in some
US schools - to help justify his slaughter and enslavement of these
people. He wrote to the Spanish monarchs in 1493: "It is possible,
with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is
possible to sell.Here there are so many of these slaves, and also
brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as good as

Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a
common reward for Columbus' men for him to present them with local
women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts
of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the
business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: "A hundred
castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as
for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers
who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old)
are now in demand."

However, the Taino turned out not to be particularly good workers in
the plantations that the Spaniards and later the French established

Hispaniola: they resented their lands and children being taken, and
attempted to fight back against the invaders. Since the Taino where
obviously standing in the way of Spain's progress, Columbus sought to
impose discipline on them. For even a minor offense, an Indian's nose
or ear was cut off, se he could go back to his village to impress the
people with the brutality the Spanish were capable of. Columbus
attacked them with dogs, skewered them with pikes, and shot them.

Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de
Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, "As a result of the
sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have
chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide.
The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and
childbirth. Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and
have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with
their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery."

Eventually, Columbus and later his brother Bartholomew Columbus who
he left in charge of the island, simply resorted to wiping out the
Taino altogether. Prior to Columbus' arrival, some scholars place the
population of Haiti/Hispaniola (now at 16 million) at around 1.5 to 3
million people. By 1496, it was down to 1.1 million, according to a
census done by Bartholomew Columbus. By 1516, the indigenous
population was 12,000, and according to Las Casas (who were there) by
1542 fewer than 200 natives were alive. By 1555, every single one was

This wasn't just the story of Hispaniola; the same has been done to
indigenous peoples worldwide. Slavery, apartheid, and the entire
concept of conservative Darwinian Economics, have been used to
justify continued suffering by masses of human beings.

Dr. Jack Forbes, Professor of Native American Studies at the
University of California at Davis and author of the brilliant
book "Columbus and Other Cannibals," uses the Native American word
wétiko (pronounced WET-ee-ko) to describe the collection of beliefs
that would produce behavior like that of Columbus. Wétiko literally
means "cannibal," and Forbes uses it quite intentionally to describe
these standards of culture: we "eat" (consume) other humans by
destroying them, destroying their lands, taking their natural
resources, and consuming their life-force by enslaving them either
physically or economically. The story of Columbus and the Taino is
just one example.

We live in a culture that includes the principle that if somebody
else has something we need, and they won't give it to us, and we have
the means to kill them to get it, it's not unreasonable to go get it,
using whatever force we need to.

In the United States, the first "Indian war" in New England was
the "Pequot War of 1636," in which colonists surrounded the largest
of the Pequot villages, set it afire as the sun began to rise, and
then performed their duty: they shot everybody-men, women, children,
and the elderly-who tried to escape. As Puritan colonist William
Bradford described the scene: "It was a fearful sight to see them
thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same,
and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed
a sweet sacrifice, and they [the colonists] gave praise therof to
God, who had wrought so wonderfully..."

The Narragansetts, up to that point "friends" of the colonists, were
so shocked by this example of European-style warfare that they
refused further alliances with the whites. Captain John Underhill
ridiculed the Narragansetts for their unwillingness to engage in
genocide, saying Narragansett wars with other tribes were "more for
pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies."

In that, Underhill was correct: the Narragansett form of war, like
that of most indigenous Older Culture peoples, and almost all Native
American tribes, does not have extermination of the opponent as a
goal. After all, neighbors are necessary to trade with, to maintain a
strong gene pool through intermarriage, and to insure cultural
diversity. Most tribes wouldn't even want the lands of others,
because they would have concerns about violating or entering the
sacred or spirit-filled areas of the other tribes. Even the killing
of "enemies" is not most often the goal of tribal "wars": It's most
often to fight to some pre-determined measure of "victory" such as
seizing a staff, crossing a particular line, or the first wounding or
surrender of the opponent.

This wétiko type of theft and warfare is practiced daily by farmers
and ranchers worldwide against wolves, coyotes, insects, animals and
trees of the rainforest; and against indigenous tribes living in the
jungles and rainforests. It is our way of life. It comes out of our
foundational cultural notions.

So it should not surprise us that with the doubling of the world's
population over the past 37 years has come an explosion of violence
and brutality, and as the United States runs low on oil, we are now
fighting wars in oil-rich parts of the world. It shouldn't surprise
us that our churches are using violent "kill the infidels" video
games to lure in children, while in parts of Africa contaminated by
our culture and rich in oil (Congo) rape has become so widespread as
to make the front page of yesterday's New York Times.

These are all dimensions, after all, our history, which we celebrate
on Columbus Day. But if we wake up, and we help the world wake up, it
need not be our future.

Excerpted and slightly edited from "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too
Late." Hartmann's most recent book is Cracking The Code: How to Win
Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision.


Friday, October 05, 2007


Run for cover!

Ever get tired of certain mis-applied words? Like, "socialist"? People don't learn about economic systems and then they act as if they do. All they really accomplish is use the current equivilent for "Juden!"

September 28, 2007
Editorial Observer
The Socialists Are Coming! The Socialists Are Coming!

The epithet of choice these days for Republicans who oppose any expansion of government’s role in health care programs is “socialized” medicine.

Rudy Giuliani has used the “s-word” to denounce legislation that would enlarge a children’s health insurance program and to besmirch Hillary Clinton’s health plan. Mitt Romney has added a xenophobic twist, calling the Clinton plan “European-style socialized medicine,” while ignoring its similarities to a much-touted health care reform he championed as governor of Massachusetts. Other conservative critics have wielded the “s-word” to deplore efforts to expand government health care programs or regulation over the private health care markets.

Our political discourse is so debased that the term is typically applied where it is least appropriate and never applied where it most fits the case.

No one has the nerve to brand this country’s purest systems of “socialized medicine” — the military and veterans hospitals — for what they are. In both systems, care is not only paid for by the government but delivered in government facilities by doctors who are government employees. Even so, a parade of Washington’s political dignitaries, including President Bush, has turned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., for checkups and treatment, without ideological complaint. Politicians who deplore government-run health care for average Americans are only too happy to use it themselves.

Nor are they eager to tar the vast array of government hospitals and clinics that serve our nation’s veterans. For one thing, the veterans’ hospitals, once considered a second-rate backwater, now lead their private sector competitors in adopting electronic medical records and score well for delivering high quality care at relatively low cost. Even when the veterans’ hospitals were rightly criticized this year for their part in the disgraceful failure to care adequately for soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was no clamor to junk or privatize the system, only demands to make it better.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg startled most New Yorkers two years ago when he asserted that the city’s public hospitals are “better than the great teaching hospitals” all around them. Although some deemed his praise hyperbolic, the city’s billionaire, entrepreneurial, free-market-enriched mayor thought he knew quality when he saw it, even if it was socialist at its core.

The country’s vast Medicare program is one step less socialized — a “single-payer” program in which the government pays for the care and sets reimbursement rates, but the actual care is delivered by private doctors and hospitals. When Medicare was launched in 1965 it was routinely denounced as socialized medicine, but it has become so popular that politicians deem it the third rail of American politics, sure to electrocute anyone who tries to cut it or privatize it. No politician is eager to brand 43 million beneficiaries as socialists at heart.

Meanwhile, the two current butts of the “s-word” are such hybrids of public and private elements that it is hard to know how to characterize them. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, was denigrated by one Republican congressman this week as “a government-run socialized wolf masquerading in the sheep skin of children’s health.” It might better be thought of as a “double-payer system” in which the states and the federal government put up the money, the states take the lead in defining the program and the actual care is typically delivered through private health plans by private doctors and hospitals.

The “s-word” seems even less appropriate for Senator Clinton’s proposed universal health care plan, which seeks to bolster employer-provided health benefits and create new purchasing pools to help individuals buy private policies at low group rates.

True, her plan would expand government regulation, and she wants to make a Medicare-like option available to compete with private policies. But that would only lead to a socialized, single-payer system if everybody were to choose the Medicare-like option.

There is no special magic in government-run or government-financed health care. Medicare has serious cost-control and financing problems, and the veterans’ hospitals could take a turn for the worse, as they have in the past, should federal funding shrivel. Private health care systems have strengths of their own, are favored by many patients and often provide care as good as any.

The take-home message for voters is this: Look behind the labels to judge health care proposals on their merits. Whenever you hear a candidate denounce something as a step toward socialized medicine, it probably isn’t. More likely the politician is demagoguing the issue or is abysmally ignorant of the inner workings — and real, not ideological, failings — of the country’s multifaceted health care system.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company


The war: Not our's to vote on?

Here’s a quickie I found on WSWS. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told us we couldn’t end the Iraq War by voting. Apparently, we no longer have the power to do that.

And, I believe, it’s only a matter of time before not agreeing with this point of view is “realized” to being detrimental to the war effort and, thus, disloyal....

World Socialist Web Site

Retiring military chief declares: American people can’t vote to end Iraq war
By Patrick Martin
4 October 2007
Back to screen version | Send this link by email | Email the author

In a statement remarkable for its blunt rejection of democracy, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said Monday that opponents of the war in Iraq could not bring it to an end by voting.

Pace made his comments before an audience that included President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and hundreds of high-ranking Pentagon civilian and military officials, as he swore in his successor as the president’s top military adviser, Admiral Michael Mullen. None of those present made any objection to Pace’s statement.

Outside Ft. Myer, where the ceremony took place, a handful of antiwar demonstrators used a bullhorn to shout their opposition. Reporters inside could hear, “Stop the Killing, George!”, “Arrest the Liar for War Crimes!” and other denunciations of the administration and the Pentagon.

Noting the presence of the demonstrators, Pace said the protest against the war was an exercise of the right of free speech, but that there were limits:

“I just want everyone to understand that this dialogue is not about ‘can we vote our way out of a war.’ We have an enemy who has declared war on us. We are in a war. They want to stop us from living the way we want to live our lives. So the dialogue is not about ‘are we in a war,’ but how and where and when to best fight that war.”


The Fantasy America-land

Argh! I just lost a post I forgot to save. Goddamit!

OK, I suggest people take a look at Eugene's blog, pudgyindian2

Eugene has some interesting material on skinheads and other shock troops for the neo-cons. Black Shirts, yeah. Black Shirts, shaved heads, tattoos. Man, when I see people like that, I feel intimidated. I understand that's why people, guys, dress that way: they want to impress people with how macho and rough they are. Isn't that nice?

The skinhead-types espouse, of course, all the values the Neo-Cons hold dear: national (e.g.: white) pride, violence and aggression, a belief in (some sort of christian) God, guns, American cars, keeping women in their place, whopping on kids to "teach 'em to mind", and so on and so forth, ad nauseam.

Most of them are...well, out of place. One hundred and fifty years ago, the skinheads would have been frontiersmen, out in the West, killing Indians, taking scalps, getting drunk and shooting each other, becoming American Idols.

The neo-cons have lived beyond their times, too. They believe in an America that never really existed, except in cheap novels and TV shows. And it's that attachment to the unreal myth that appeals to so many people. Folks want the "Bonanza," "The Way the West was Won," "Big Jake" fantasy, because they feel inadequate and powerless in the real world. Slipping into fantasy or chemically medicating themselves are about the only ways they can escape their bleak existences. Thank god for Xanax...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Sorry, kids, no health care for you

So Bush vetoed the bill that would extend health care to many more children—as well as insure that the ones who have been covered will continue to be covered. The man is, if nothing else, consistent—consistently an ass. There's something disconnected in the man: his idea of compassion has little to do with feelings; it's strictly an idea. He can turn compassion on and off like a faucet.

Remember the last season of "The Sopranos"? Tony S.'s therapist, Dr Malfi, finally realized that for sociopaths—or anti-social personalities as I think they're currently called—almost all of their actions are guided by the rewards they themselves can gather. For Tony Soprano, the insights he gained in therapy were opportunities to polish his act. Tony and George were two of a kind: manipulative, able to lie without a qualm, and utterly cold-blooded. Tony's mother in the series was a sort of unpolished Barbara Bush. And isn't that chilly?

Now what will Congress do about Bush's action? They'll fuss and make speeches, but never quite get it together enough to over-ride. Sorry, kids, but we don't want to get accused of promoting "socialized medicine." Congress and all those guys already have it, but they don't want to share...

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